With the arrival of Fall comes the inevitable “Netflix” period. It’s what happens when money’s tight and deadlines are approaching.
While I hope to be back to the theaters soon, I thought I’d use this time to talk about some of the great, and perhaps slightly unknown, shows. My most recent find has been a series starring comedian Maria Bamford as herself called Lady Dynamite.
Created by Mitch Hurwitz and Pam Brady, writers of Arrested Development and South Park respectively, Lady Dynamite follows Bamford in a story loosely based on her life and experiences.
After working as a relatively successful alternative comedian in Hollywood, Maria tries to get her professional life back on track after taking a long leave of absence to treat her bipolar disorder and other mental health issues. With her hapless agent Bruce Ben-Bacharach as her main support system, Maria tries to get back into the flow of working in Los Angeles while also trying to maintain her sanity.
Maria Bamford’s comedy isn’t like that of other traditional comedians. She delivers a more stream of thought line of comedy rather than the standard jokes and stories. The series follows this same pattern, as aside from following her in present day LA, the show flashes back to her time spent at home while she was trying to treat her bipolar disorder. It keeps viewers on their toes as it jumps from one time period and mood to another, and impressively delivers laughs no matter what.
The main cast is small, just Maria and her agent, but Lady Dynamite boasts an impressive list of guest stars throughout it’s run. The show seems very casual. There are no extravagant sets or wardrobes, and it almost seems like a bunch of friends just showed up at a house and decided to make a funny video.
The laid back nature works for the show and helps the viewers feel more relaxed, like they are just watching and supporting a friend keeping a video diary of their recovery. Fans of Hurwitz’s fantastic series Arrested Development will feel right at home with the humor and writing, and fans of Bamford’s offbeat comedy will enjoy the off-kilter feel of the show.
Lady Dynamite is a fun, casual and enjoyable viewing. Bamford is an easy character to root for and is extremely relatable. Even if you have no history of having to deal with mental health issues, she has a way of putting you at ease while putting herself in awkward situations we’ve all found ourselves in from time to time.
The humor may be a little offbeat and not for everyone, but its message and warm-heartedness is.